So, have you heard? Your chair may be killing you

Story by MOSAIC Lifecare clinic chiropractor David Harper

Were you aware that the combined time you sit at work, school, home and commuting may be single most modifiable risk factor limiting and even preventing you from living a life that you can love and a life that you deserve?

Known as the “new smoking,” chronic sitting impacts all organ systems. Your chair may be killing you.

Multiple research sources now link chronic sedentary behaviour, most often identified as prolonged sitting, as a contributing root cause of all chronic diseases and early death. The big ones here are osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and blood clots.

From an early age, our activity in the new millennia has become increasingly restricted. Since most jobs or home environments are now wired to a computer or an HD flat screen TV, we are lured into spending time being sedentary. Remember playing around the neighbourhood as a child? Not these days. Playing is programmed. Kids are driven to their activities and they do not play organically. The new social reality has consequences – why bother riding your bike over to your friend’s house and knocking on their door when you can text them while you are sitting?

Historically, the only attention your chair got was an ergonomic assessment to check monitor and keyboard position, and maybe to upgrade to a more multifunctional chair. What we now know is that sitting for prolonged periods of time impacts the body by accelerating the aging process. In the same way, but to a lesser degree, sitting causes the same outcomes of accelerated aging as being weightless in space, only slower. It turns out that gravity is really important for health. Gravity places needed stress on the body and, when we sit, we reduce this optimal effect.

So what can you do?

Take breaks every 45 to 50 minutes. Get up. Jump up and down, dance on the spot, stretch or take a short walk down the hall. Do something to change your position. Do something where you are moving and interrupting the pattern and mold of sitting in your chair. Do not go for a coffee. Do something creative and right-brained to balance your mind and rejuvenate your soul.

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